Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summer 2012 Community Supported Agriculture subscriber agreements are in!

Do you want to be eating locally produced, sustainably raised produce all year round? Getting involved in a community supported agriculture program is a great way to eat delicious food, meet the farmers who raised your food and spend time on the farm that the food came from. Below is our subscriber agreement for the summer 2012 season of our CSA. We are accepting 20 subscribers. Please email us or call or comment for a printable version of the agreement.

Flint River Farm
Community Supported Agriculture Program
Subscriber Agreement
Summer, 2012

What is a CSA?
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE is a form of food distribution that supports the direct relationship between farmer and consumer or “subscriber.” A CSA consists of a community of individuals who support a farm by purchasing produce or goods at the beginning of the season, and receiving a box of delicious, locally produced food every week. Farmer and subscriber share the abundance of the season together

Flint River Farm is a diversified urban farm in downtown Flint. Farmers Joanna and Roxanne are offering vegetable subscriptions from the farm on Beach and 12th Street. A vegetable subscription means that you will receive weekly boxes of freshly picked, local vegetables grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. This means that every week, when you take home your box of produce you will find everything from arugula to zucchini. We will also provide weekly updates on the farm, as well as hosting classes like urban edible foraging and volunteer days. You are participating in the growth of a new business, and play a crucial role in creating a healthy food system.

Flint River Farm also produces items such as breads, jams, maple syrup and honey and supports other small businesses by distributing additional items like local, free range eggs, noodles, etc. These items can be purchased additionally by preorder. Delivery of boxes may be arranged for an additional fee.

Our summer subscription is 16 weeks long, and will go from May through August. Pick up will be on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-7PM at the farm on Beach Street. Preorders for other products should be submitted on Wednesday at CSA pick-up for pick-up on Saturday at the Flint Farmers Market.

We can accept cash, checks, money orders, paypal, EBT and Double Up Food Bucks

As a Subscriber:

• I commit to supporting Flint River Farm by paying the full amount of $475.00 ($30/week) by _______________for a 16-week period between May and August. If I am unable to pay this up front, I agree to work out a payment plan with the farm.
• I agree to pick up my box of produce every week at Flint River Farm on Beach Street and Van Lue. If I am unable to pick up, I will send someone to pick up my subscription. If no one can pick up my share, I will notify farm managers 48 hours in advance. I understand that it will not be available beyond this day and will be donated.
• I understand that the farm cannot guarantee an amount or type of produce from week to week. A full share box will be valued at around $30/week
• I understand that the farm cannot give refunds for vegetable subscriptions.
• Subscriptions are available on a first come basis. The farm may continue accepting subscribers if not all positions are filled.
• I am sharing in the risk and benefit of the farm and understand that the fruits and vegetables grown are subject to growing conditions, environmental variables and possible crop failure as well as bountiful harvests.

Flint River Farm commits to:

• Growing the most delicious and diverse produce in the most socially conscious and ecologic way we can
• Providing weekly boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables available for pick up at Flint River Farm on Beach Street
• Growing without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
• Working with subscribers to create payment plans if necessary
• Planting to accommodate weather conditions and possible vandalism
• Keep subscribers up to date with farm happenings with a weekly newsletter
• Provide recipes and creative uses for unusual vegetables
• Take subscribers vegetable preferences into account when planting

Payment Options:

We can accept cash, checks, money orders, paypal and EBT.

Full Subscription (16 weeks) $475.00

Payment plan necessary?  YES  NO
If yes, Flint River Farm will contact you to set up arrangements. A minimum of $30 per week, or $120 per month is required.

Do you want to use EBT/Double up Food Bucks to pay for your subscription?


A subscriber can choose to split a full subscription between two households or more. Registered Subscriber takes full responsibility for dividing subscription among partners, and providing payment in full. If you plan to divide your subscription please let us know so we can do our best to accommodate you.

Subscriber Partner Name ________________________________
Subscriber Partner Phone ________________________________
Subscriber Partner Address ________________________________

A subscriber can choose someone to take over their subscription and payment. 2 week notice must be given to Flint River Farm to allow time for paperwork.

I/we wish to support Flint River Farm and purchase a vegetable subscription for the 2012 summer season.

Subscriber Signature____________________________ Date_________________


Phone number ___________________________________________

Joanna Lehrman 917.617.4239
Roxanne Adair 810.869.6639

Flint River Farm
PO Box 468
Flint, MI 48501

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Captured moments in August

Here are a couple of photos that my father took while spending time on the farm in August. Check out some more of his work here

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Modern Day "Barn" Raising Event

The Flint River Farm passive solar, mobile hoop house was constructed over the weekend of May 14th, 2011! A very committed group of us set up a camper, built a fire pit and camped out on Beach Street for the weekend to watch over everything while we constructed our 30 X 48 hoop house on tracks. Our continually burning fire warmed our soggy clothes and achy hands, we endured the storm of the century! Just last weekend we were able to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday to cover the house in plastic and finish the wind braces. All we have left before tilling and bed prepping is to install the door, vents and roll up sides. Drive by to check it out, it's visible if you're driving south on Beach Street just as you pass over the highway. What an incredible sight! This hoop house will enable us to grow delicious tomatoes and other warm season crops. Tomatoes love it hot! In the fall, we can start cool season crops like salad mix, spinach, pac choi and chard outside, and move the hoop house to cover these crops once we rip our tomatoes in October. This way we won't have to wait until we rip our tomatoes to start our cold season plants.

We have had quite a wet Spring so far. The paths between beds are flooded and our soil is saturated. We managed to plant chard, pac choi, collards, kale and cabbage transplants. We are using onion sets as rodent control, so we've planted beds of onions between the greens. We seeded beets and carrots which have started to come up, but after a torrential downpour, many of these were washed away. Carrots take a pretty long time to germinate, so we'll have to get started on more seeding soon. This past week we seeded baby spinach, easter egg and deliciously spicy black radishes, hakurei turnips and salad mix. On a sunny day we got the chance to get in to weed the asparagus fronds, which stand about 4 feet now and gracefully blow in the wind. We won't be harvesting these until next year, and it'll be a very light harvest. It's been really interesting investing in the future by planting perennials. It's a very tangible and emotional commitment to this place, the planting of blackberries and asparagus and medicinal and culinary herbs.

We have a beautiful beginning herb bed, with chamomile, anise, horseradish, horehound, lavender, spearmint, catnip, oregano, thyme, chives and more. Over the years we will spend a lot of time cultivating this plot for drying, salve making, teas and fresh bunching.

Flint River Farm has its first bee hive on Beach Street! We constructed our hive in Jim Withers' of Withers Mountain Honey workshop. We ordered bees from Turtlebee Farms and I stored them in my spare bedroom until we were ready to install them. 10,000 bees in a three pound package! We installed them by replacing three of the empty frames with frames with some honey and comb, and by pouring about 3/4 of the bees into the hive while leaving the rest of the package inside the hive until the next day. We also took out the queen cage and placed it between two frames, to let the workers eat their way in to her while learning her scent and helping to feed her. The next day we went in to remove the carrying cage and the queen cage. I made a sugar water mixture with a 1:! ratio for the hive top feeder, because we installed them in the Spring before a lot of flowers are in bloom. About 10 days later we checked to see if we could find the queen, or an indication of her, which could be eggs, or larvae. I didn't see either, so we called in the expert, Jim! He came down, we found the queen, marked her with white paint and also saw little larvae, which is a really good sign. About a week after that, in the still of the night after the bees all returned to the hive, we closed it up and transported them out to Beach Street in the back of my car. just last week we added the second deep box, after inspecting to see if seven of the frames were filled in comb. They are now happily collecting pollen, the different colors of which make up the comb, a beautiful mosaic of rainbow hexagons.

Check out this video about urban beekeeping in Hong Kong. I love his connection between beekeeping and the social and physical human environment. Watching bees while being incredibly deliberate and slow is catharsis.

We are very excited for our CSA this year. We will be doing a newsletter with recipes to be included in the CSA share. We'll be getting off to a slow start, because of how wet the ground is. The weather all over the midwest region, as well as the southern states is preventing farmers from tilling and planting, which will have national effects as the season progresses. For the first week, which is still to be determined, we are anticipating delicious beautiful radishes, salad mix, baby spinach, pac choi and some other surprise goodies.

We'll make sure to keep the updates coming,


when the sun rises, i go to work. when the sun goes down, i take my rest. i dig the well from which i drink. i farm the soil which yields my food. i share creation. kings can do no more.
*Chinese proverb

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 Classes and Community Supported Agriculture

Roxanne and I will be offering these classes over the coming months. Once we have exact dates we'll post those here as well as on the Edible Flint calendar.

-tapping and id'ing trees for maple syrup (late february, early march depending on weather)
-starting your backyard garden (early spring)
-mushroom production (spring)
-processing maple syrup (march, april)
-planting by the signs and other garden folklore (may)
-foraging for wild edibles (late june)
-natural medicine with medicinal and utilitarian plants (july)
-everything about seeds: from saving to starting (fall)
-everything about growing garlic (october)

These are days we thought would be a good hands on leaning experience for volunteers at the farm. We will be doing these activities no matter what, and would love to have people come out to help.

-establishing a perennial food plot (spring)
-setting up a drip system for irrigation (late spring)
-diy rainwater harvesting (july)
-hoop house build (early spring)

We are also offering 16 week shares for our Community Supported Agriculture program starting in June. We will be posting more information on what you can expect to receive as a member weekly, types of payment, pickup locations and volunteer opportunities.

Peace and good food,


Looking back over summer '10, Flint, MI

I spent the holiday season back in New York with my parents, which gave me time to get distance and perspective on this past year, and to get excited about moving forward with Flint River Farm in 2011. This month we'll be presenting to the Land Bank board for the opportunity to secure a lease with an option to purchase for the lots on Beach Street. This will enable us to increase local, residential land ownership, to have security in the resources like time and money and infrastructure that we put into the land, to create a permanent and intentional space for urban agriculture, to contribute to the city by paying business taxes, to make our neighborhood more permanent, safer, cleaner, to increase visibility, to work with and sell directly to neighbors, as well as lots more.

We are also in the process of researching and reaching out to professionals about raising hoop houses in the city. Currently, the Michigan Building Code exempts agriculture buildings from needing a building permit under the Construction Code Limited Exemption For Agricultural Buidings ("building permit is not required for a building incidental to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which the building is located if it is not used in the business of retail trade), but not necessarily exempting them from zoning. In researching city of Flint zoning ordinances, A-1 Principle Permitted Use claims that "...Customary agricultural uses including noncommercial nurseries and greenhouses, but expressly excluding the keeping of farm animals."

The problem is that while nursery is defined as "a structure or use where live trees, shrubs, or plants are grown, tended, or stored and offered for retail sale, including products used for gardening or landscaping, but not including a structure or use principally for the sale of fruits, vegetables or Christmas trees," Greenhouse is not defined.

In the coming weeks make sure to check back for posts on custom printed t-shirts to advocate for hoop houses in Flint, fermentation journals (yes, saurkraut, kimchi, beer and yogurt), as well as information on participating in a buying club for bulk foods (flour, sugar, dairy, meat, olive oil, onions/garlic, salt).

Friday, July 9, 2010

First Ever Flint Growers Co-operative!

Here is the press release for the Edible Flint growers co-operative first market day at the Flint Farmers Market:

Joanna Lehrman
Flint River Farms, Edible Flint Co-op

City-Grown Food Co-op opens at Flint Farmers Market

Flint, Mi, July 9, 2010 -- Starting Saturday, July 17, 2010 and continuing every Saturday throughout the summer, customers at the Flint Farmers’ Market will be able to purchase vegetables, herbs, and fruits grown right in the heart of the City of Flint and Beecher. The Farmers’ Market stall will be run by the Edible Flint Co-op, a collaboration of nearly 20 urban growers, dedicated to improving Flint residents’ access to fresh and healthy food.

And there’s a bonus: As Edible Flint Co-op growers raise food, they are also adding value to local property and helping improve the overall health of residents.
“This is one of the most important things we can do to support growers who want to increase production or supplement their income, and to support local residents by providing easy access to wholesome food,” said Joanna Lehrman, a grower and co-operative planning-group member. “We can grow incredibly diverse and exciting produce here in Flint. The co-operative enables us to support each other by sharing in the risk and increasing the quantity of products we have available to those who shop at the Farmers’ Market.”

The Edible Flint Co-op is part of Edible Flint, A Growing Network, a group of local residents, growers, and organizations that provide technical assistance and seek to better coordinate resources for local growers. Edible Flint members also connect growers to buyers for their produce - including local restaurants and farmers’ markets.

Edible Flint’s mission is “…to support local residents in growing and accessing fresh, healthy food in order to reconnect with the land and each other.”

“Having a table supported by local growers is exciting,” said Dick Ramsdell, manager of the Flint Farmers’ Market. “The market is busier this summer than ever before. Vacant land in Flint created a negative image in people’s minds, and now this land is growing healthy food!”

The stall at the Flint Farmers’s Market , 420 E. Boulevard Dr. Flint, MI 48503, will be open during regular market hours, 8:00am to 5:00pm, beginning Saturday, July 17.
Members of Edible Flint and growers will be on hand share recipes and to answer questions about where food is being grown by members of the co-operative. For more information about the Edible Flint Co-operative contact Joanna Lehrman, Flint River Farms, Edible Flint Co-op at (917)617-4239. Or e-mail her at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

10 Tips on getting, and not getting a grant: Part 1

Swartz Creek from Aldrich Park

1. Make sure you have an organizational home and affiliations. This brings you credibility.

2. Use the format that the foundation requires for letters of inquiry and the full proposal.

3. Have a sustainability plan. Foundations want to know they won't have to support you forever.

4. Cultivate your partnerships and be able to describe in detail what these entail.

5. Be flexible with your plan. Business plans change and evolve.

6. Know what kinds of projects the foundation funds, what the organization objectives are and what its mission is, and how your project fits into this.

7. Be true to your own mission and objective and be able to coherently communicate these.

8. Be clear about what money requested will be used for.

9. Be resourceful. What donations can you obtain, what in-kind contributions do you have access to, what costs can be cut, what do you absolutely need?

10. Diversify your requests. Do not rely on one foundation or funding source. Foundations also want to know that there are others that are willing to invest in your project.

Transplants are growing, tomatoes are tomato'ey, May rains have come, we have begun our search for manure and a way to load and transport and have opened up the entrance to Aldrich Park. I've been taking some nice long walks in Aldrich, identifying weeds, introducing Mason the dog to groundhogs and coming up with plans for a campsite and pond where the sinkhole is.

Some plans for this summer on Aldrich are brushhogging, contouring and leveling and redistributing leaves (anyone know of any contractors who might be willing to donate some time to the project in Flint?), hooking up electricity, setting up a (battery powered, solar powered?) irrigation system out of Swartz Creek, planning for a driveway (concrete, asphalt), and cleaning up the entranceway.

Thanks for checkin' back in. Oh, and you might want to check out The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird for summer reading.

Aldrich Park from Court Street